6/27/2021 0 Comments
We are conditioned from a young age to think that love is summed up in the magical scenes we see on TV, where people fall in love and families live happily ever after. And while those fairy tales sometimes do come true, it isn’t typically without some sort of hardship. Paul describes for us in beautiful detail in 1 Corinthians what love is and what it is not. He shows us the type of love we are to practice during our walk here on earth, yet, inevitably, we fall short.
As humans, we break promises and hurt those we deeply care for, but Jesus, in His perfect existence and His sacrificial death for us, defines unfailing love. Without Him, we will always falter at His command to love in all that we do. We must have faith when we fail, and when we are failed by others, He is our redemption.
Today, I say to you the same words I share in response to those really hard questions from my foster children:
Precious babies, in the end, even if it all worked out perfectly, nothing will fulfill that deep, innate longing for love within you except for Jesus. I want you to know that even though there is hurt, your birth parents love you so very much. However, their love, like mine, is wildly imperfect.
But wait! This is where Jesus comes in and it gets really good. See, despite our failures as humans, He has never once stopped loving you. He knows how many strands of hair are on your head. He knows what makes you laugh and what makes you cry. He hears you each time you pray for your family and smiles when you show love to your siblings.
He has always been there for you and will always be there for you. You are wanted. You are loved. You were carefully created in the image of your heavenly father, Jesus.
He is the one that will never let you down and will never forsake you, even if other people do. He is the one that loves you so much that He gave his life for you.
Your story is only beginning and you are loved more than you could ever imagine.
I love you, Mama LaL
Memory Verse: “'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.'" Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
3/28/2021 0 Comments
In the Wait
The frustrating truth about restoration is this: it takes time. I have begged God for an answer, willing to know when? But, today there isn’t an end in sight.
The book of Nehemiah is a celebration of restoration. It depicts the beginning of the Jews’ return to their land after years spent in exile, and the process of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. They spent years in captivity in Babylon, years of wondering if God was still working, years of asking God, how and when? After decades of displacement, they were finally granted freedom. But their city back home was still destroyed, there was still no end in sight for their full restoration.
Despite being in the messy middle, we see the Israelites celebrate. Nehemiah shares that they worshipped the Lord for almost an entire month, praising Him for His provisions. Even when the work wasn’t finished, they acknowledged the restoration already happening. They thanked God for their deliverance, and trusted Him with what still needed to happen.
The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt; the city was restored to its former beauty. The Lord kept his promises; our God is a God of miracles. He can bring restoration to even the most broken of stories. Yes, even yours.
What is broken in your life that you are trusting God to restore? A wandering child? Your marriage? Your finances? A friendship? Your emotions?
I don’t know how or when our current placement will end, but I trust the Restorer who alone breathes new life into every situation.
When your journey has brought you into the deepest, darkest parts of the woods, know that you are not alone. Jesus is moving. Begin to thank Him, like the Israelites, for His deliverance and restoration. Trust Him with the long road ahead. Trust that His timeline hasn’t stopped just because you feel like yours has.
You may not see it yet, but He will make all things new in His time. He alone can breathe new life into the wandering, the waiting, and redeem our darkest moments all for His glory.
12/20/2020 2 Comments
It’s been two years since, and now I sit and silently grieve the unknown of their future. Selfishly, I grieve my own potential loss— the loss of no longer getting to be their mother. But I also grieve for the uncertainty of their safety, and for the cruelty of this world broken by sin. I have found myself back in that familiar dark corner of my faith, bargaining with God again.
I have questioned His goodness, and even His faithfulness. Lord, why are you hiding yourself? Where are you in this mess - in my grief and anguish?
Are there areas in your life that you find yourself sitting in silent grief? Are you waiting for the Lord to show Himself to you, to unveil the beauty in His plan?
I have related to the story of Hannah. Hannah endured infertility for years, to the point of being chastised by her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, for her barren womb. Despite her husband's great love for her, Hannah felt alone in her torment. She suffered through torturous, suffocating grief.
1 Samuel 10 tells us that, “in her deep anguish, Hannah prayed to the Lord weeping bitterly.” As Eli, the priest, looks on, she begs the Lord to look upon His “servant’s misery” (vs. 11). She promises if He’ll grant her a son, she’ll return him back unto the Lord, to serve Him in the temple.
The Lord eventually granted Hannah a son and she named him Samuel. After years of deep grief and anguish, Hannah had finally become pregnant— the Lord fulfilled her deepest desire. After nursing and weaning him, Hannah made good on her promise. She gave Samuel back to the Lord as an offering for His faithfulness.
And I would imagine that Hannah grieved.
Sometimes, I think that everything should work out in my favor since I have struggled to get to this place, as a mother. Somehow I feel like I am owed something for my years of suffering, but if I allow myself to get wrapped up in that mindset, I miss the bigger picture of what the Lord is doing.
Hannah could have felt entitled to keep Samuel for her own. After all those years of prayer, didn’t she deserve her happily ever after? If you read the rest of the story, however, the Lord went on to use Samuel to do incredible things for Israel. Hannah’s journey- the joy andthe grief- was not in vain!
Life is full of heartbreak. Some sorrow is apparent, while other sorrow lies silently under the surface. In a world that is broken by sin, no one gets out unscathed. We can find hope in Hannah’s story— the Lord can use your angst for His glory. He is faithful to sustain us in our deepest seasons of bitter anguish. Jesus will use our trials and our pain, to mold us and use us for His purpose.
When grief overcomes you with its heavy waves, focus your eyes on Jesus. We can’t control every aspect of our lives, but we can trust in the One who can. He orchestrates every part of our lives for His good plans.
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Angi Morrison Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes